In the time between the release of 2012’s Transit of Venus and their latest album Human, Canadian hard rock band Three Days Grace have learned that nothing should be taken for granted and that nothing should ever be assumed.
Never mind the fact that the group sold well more than six million albums over the four full-length efforts that preceeded Human.
Never mind the fact the group holds the record for the most number one songs on Active Rock Radio.
Never mind the fact their show at Casino New Brunswick this Saturday night is sold out.
As far as Three Days Grace drummer Neil Sanderson is concerned, his group’s sustained success has everything to do with staying true to who they are both individually and collectively.
“Every day, we realize how fortunate we are to have sustained such a solid fanbase over the last 13 years,” he begins. “Luck has something to do with it, but I think the essence of our success can be attributed to the fact we have stayed true to ourselves all along. What we write about in our songs are real life experiences that everyone lives through. It has helped us form a real connection between the band and our fans, because I think some people can see themselves in our songs. When you have someone come up to you and tell you how much one of your songs means to them or how it helped them through a tough time, it is beyond gratifying and just reinforces why we do what we do.”
Growing up in the small Ontario town of Norwood, the roots of Three Days Grace reach back into high school, when, by Sanderson’s admission, the band played “every party, festival and haywagon” going.
A move to Toronto following their graduation from high school proved to be prophetic. It was there that the group met producer Gavin Brown, who in turn helped the group shop a number of their songs, including their hit debut single “I Hate Everything About You,” to a host of record labels and publishers.
The 2003 release of their self-titled debut record catapulted the band to instant success, going on to earn platinum-selling status both in Canada and the U.S.
Looking back, Sanderson says it was all they could do to sit back and enjoy the ride as much as they could.
“It was just a whirlwind of activity, but gratifyingly so. To pour your heart into something and see it become this massive, immediate success was unreal. We went from hardly having travelled anywhere to travelling all over the world in the span of just a couple of years.”
Although the group was fortunate to have sustained their success over the course of the last decade, the band was dealt one of their biggest blows at the start of 2013 when founding member and Three Days Grace vocalist Adam Gontier announced his sudden departure from the group.
Rather than wallowing in their own self-pity, the band soldiered on, recruiting Matt Walst, the brother of Three Days Grace bassist Brad Walst, to assume vocal responsibilities.
While a handful of bands, including Van Halen, Journey, Alice In Chains and Black Sabbath, each successfully replaced their lead vocalists in the past, Sanderson acknowledges that it can be one of the most contentious positions that any band of any stature is required to fill.
“There never was any question as to whether or not we would continue. The band runs deeper than any one of us. It’s been the culmination of songwriting collaboration and everybody bringing ideas to the table. We are a band in every sense of the word.
“Bringing Matt into the fold made sense on a lot of different levels: Not only was he a natural fit, he helped write songs on our first album as well as on Transit Of Venus. He brought a new energy to the group. When ‘Painkiller,’ the first song we recorded with him, went to number one at rock radio, it just confirmed that forging ahead was the right move. We’ve never looked back.”
Even though Three Days Grace continues to occupy the bulk of Sanderson’s time, the last few years have seen the drummer branch out into the world of songwriting for others, including having written the number one hit “Get By” for Canadian country music star Tim Hicks.
But fans shouldn’t worry that his work with other artists will overshadow his role in Three Days Grace.
“When I am writing with others, I feel lucky to be in a position to bring songwriting experience to the table,” Sanderson says. “Songwriting is a passion that has ultimately allowed me to expand the scope of my work to genres of music outside of what I do with Three Days Grace. It’s been great.”
What: Three Days Grace with special guest Halestorm
When: Saturday Nov. 7, 8 p.m.
Where: Casino New Brunswick, 21 Casino Dr., Moncton
This show is sold out